managing an australian shepherd while in college

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Member Since
Barked: Fri Apr 26, '13 1:24pm PST 
I have done a fair amount of research on australian shepherds, from how much exercise and training they need, to how to best groom them. I am in college, going on my junior year and I work part time. I know that australian shepherds cannot be alone for a long time during the day or they become destructive, bark a lot, and miss behave. I will be at class from roughly 8am-2pm but have time in between to spend at least 30 minutes with my dog. Then I work part time in the evenings, a few hours each night some time from 6pm-12pm, how long during that time varies depending on what I get scheduled for. But regardless of when I am in class between those times and when I am at work, I will be able to walk the dog before classes, spend time with them in between classes, after classes before work, and after work. I currently live in a house that allows dogs but the backyard is not fenced in. However there is a park and a dog park one block from the house. I am very fit and active, so devoting 2-4 hours every day to play and exercise my dog is not an issue. I am also planning on doing training with my dog every day, because I want my australian shepherd to know tricks and be an off leash dog in addition to all of the basic commands. I love playing frisbee, so I plan on taking that up with my dog because I read that is a good way to get mental and physical exercise at the same time and it gives the dog a "job". I I read that a happy aussie is one that has a "job" to do. They require exercise and training every day to keep their high energy level satisfied and their minds working. I have always wanted an australian shepherd since I was a little kid. We have had many pets while I was growing up, a few of them dogs, mostly cats and hamsters though when I was really little. I had a dog for about 6 months this past year, but then our landlord decided he did not want us to have the dog anymore so I found her a loving home with a family friend and she is happy as a clam with them now. I know what I am getting into with an australian shepherd, I understand what they require, and I am a very responsible young man. So, long story short, my question is: do you think I will be able to handle having an australian shepherd while I am in college and working part time?
River Dancer

Barked: Sun Apr 28, '13 6:15pm PST 
That is a hard call. I had dogs all my life too and I did the research but my aussie is different than any dog I had before. River is very active, too smart for his own good and has a very high prey drive. My aussie is very velcro and does not like to be alone. Fortunately in our situation hubby and I work different shifts so River does not need to be alone for long periods. River was a great puppy but his teenage time was tough. You should find a trainer with experience with aussies. We went through several before we found a good one. He calmed down around age 2. At 5 years a 5 mile walk is just a good stretch of the legs for him. He loves to swim, play soccer and fetch but has no interest in the frisbee. Aussies need lots of socialization but be careful. My dog was attacked in a dog park and now has a fear of strange dogs. We have done agility, rally and nosework. Aussies are great companions, loyal and versatile. He takes up most of my free time but I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't think I could have given an aussie enough time and exorcise when I was in college and working part time. That is my experiance with my aussie. I hope it helps you with your decision.

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Barked: Sat Jun 8, '13 10:03pm PST 
I just got my first Aussie 6monthish ago. I work 8 hrs a day wife comes home for 10 min lunch to let outside and say hi. What I have found is it the quality of enteraction with ur Aussie. At 6 moth can catch frisbee, knowns not to leave yard (have no fence up) and all the major commands. (sit, leave it, down, turn around both ways, witch side to sit on and takening agility classes). Still don't think I'm doing enough. Rain days suc for everyone. Just stick with it. the amount of work you put in it, you will get back I see that.